Channel 4 claims BAT destroyed research

Pressure on British American Tobacco (BAT), whose subsidiary is facing charges in the US of conspiring to hide the harmful effects of smoking, increased last night after Channel 4 claimed to have unearthed a memo implying damaging scientific research had been destroyed.

Pressure on British American Tobacco (BAT), whose subsidiary is facing charges in the US of conspiring to hide the harmful effects of smoking, increased last night after Channel 4 claimed to have unearthed a memo implying damaging scientific research had been destroyed.

According to Channel Four News, the memo from a lawyer advising BAT referred to a number of research papers on the health dangers of smoking that a Canadian subsidiary of BAT, Imperial Tobacco, had destroyed.

The memo states that Lovells, BAT's lawyers, had been "considering the potential impact on litigation" of the reports stored in Canada and put together a list of "documents of concern" which contained "sensitive research results". Channel 4 said last night that the document says "the majority of reports of concern appear to have now been destroyed".

But BAT said last night that the documents concerned have been publicly available.

A UK subsidiary of BAT is on trial alongside five other tobacco companies in the US on a $280bn charge of deceiving the public on smoking for 50 years. All the companies involved deny any wrongdoing. But the US government alleges that while they said in public that evidence on the dangers of smoking was inconclusive, they knew internally cigarettes were harmful.

Separately, lawyers for the US government have been fighting to get a Lovells memo, written by a partner, Andrew Foyle, made public for the past year.

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